Friday, September 30, 2005

The Council's Votes

Watcher's CouncilThis was a good week at the Watcher’s Council. The breadth of topics covered was entertaining and informative. I was surprised to see Witches’ Brew come out on top. However, it was also heartening because we need to do all we can to spread the information on the UN’s bag of tricks. Now they’re holding meetings in Tunis, still trying to figure out how to wrest control of domain names and internet interests from the US Department of Commerce. It would be funny if there didn't exist such a potential for chaos and evil here — doings at which the UN excels.

By the way, have you ever noticed that the acronym for the United Nations —“un” — is our English prefix for undoing? What could be more suitable for such an unscrupulous body? Please, can we just ignore them to death? Neither they nor the Mourning Mother benefit from our attention and we benefit when we benignly neglect them.

Second place went to a most unusual post by New World Man. Being Normal sounds normal enough, but it’s deeper and wider than mere normalcy. Matt Barr has taken on the “Being Poor” meme and fisked it:
     John Scalzi's post Being Poor has certainly taken on a life of its own, hasn't it? Now Eric Zorn, not sure Scalzi's post (er, essay) inspired enough class envy, or that acknowledging its merits does enough to establish his empathic bona fides, has weighed in with a Being Privileged riff...
Before you read his list, click on Scalzi’s post so you’ll understand the context for New World Man’s response. Whether you agree with either essay is not the point. The point is to think about this dialogue for yourself and perhaps use it as the starting point for your own conversation. There’s a cultural gravitas to this subject that merits consideration.

Villanous Company is a trip. She won the non-Council votes this week for a deserving post which ranges over a wide variety of topics. She ends with this thought. It’s only pessimisstic on the surface, at least to this reader. But I believe in our American experiment and Cassandra is a prime example of what de Tocqueville thought gave us our strength:
     The media seem, increasingly, to be agitating for some kind of revolution and the agenda seems to be getting more and more open and in-your-face. We look at the BBC and cry 'socialism' but there isn't all that much difference, really, between the BBC and the NY Times or even the Washington Post when you look at the underlying message: it is government's job to insure against all evils that can possibly befall mankind and if that doesn't happen, our 'institutions' have 'failed us'.
Do we not have any duty to ourselves? Are we all powerless flotsam on the river of life? How utterly depressing - especially when one considers that the "government" we are urged to depend on is, in the end, "us" in the aggregate. A confederation of helpless dunces.
But as her post and the comments following so aptly showed, we are a strong and capable bunch, especially those of us who do not look to Washington to solve our personal catastrophes.

Second place is a must-see. Come to think of it, Villanous Company, as a military wife, would probably say they deserved place of honor.These guys did a great job with a flash media presentation demonstrating just how much we’ve accomplished in Iraq. Their post is only too aptly named — Recent Operations in Iraq: Decisive, Effective, and Unheralded:
     In an effort to create a brief visual summation of recent operations and successes in the fight against al Qaeda in Iraq and other assorted affiliated terrorist groups who share both ideology and goals, we (see note below) have created a Flash presentation titled Coalition Operations: Anbar & Ninawa Province .
When you see things like this, you realize how cheated we were in Vietnam, what a bill of goods we were sold, and how much rotten karma has accrued to the quitters and quislings who made up the vanguard of the movement to get us out of Vietnam, no matter how much it cost those we left behind. May all those responsible for that ignominious episode in our history — the one that led to the deaths of millions of innocents — may they get what they deserve.

Drop by The Watcher’s Place. There is so much good material waiting to be read and digested.

4 comments:

Suzi said...

Thanks for the pointer. I enjoyed "Being Normal."

Dan Kauffman said...

I read Being Poor.
when I got to this

"Being poor is crying when you drop the mac and cheese on the floor"

I realised they don't know anything about "poor"

Poor doesn't cry in a situation like that, poor scoops up the mac and chees and EATS it because "poor" is HUNGRY.

And one of the items that is

"Being poor is four years of night classes for an Associates of Art degree."

That is supposed to be BAD?

Now I KNOW this person does not understand anything.

That is not bad, though the impression is that somehow the results are not worth much..

I like to look at my Social Security Statement sometimes to remind myself how grateful I should feel to be living in a country where poor people have OPPORTUNITIES rather than being doomed to starvation and death.

What do I look at?

My Taxed Social Security Income for

1993 $5,673 &
1994 $4,774

While "I" went to Night School, only took me 2 years and got an Associates Degree in a Technical Field.

Oh and I SUPPORTED and FED myself on that income.

Then I was able to get a GOOD job, in 1996 worked my way up the ladder and this summer? I took my girlfriend on an holiday in Italy for two weeks.

So don't feel sorry for anyone going to Night School to get a lowly Associates Degreem, they are the WINNERS, and some of them will get better paying jobs than someone with a Masters in European Literature.

Dymphna said...

dan kauffman, you are exactly right! And on several levels, too. We don't need more doctoral students in arcane subjects that they will use to talk to the 100 other people in their field.

Instead, we need people willing to work with their hands and minds to keep our infrastructure up and running. The physical one and the technological one.

Let's hear it for the community colleges. Let's bring back apprenticeships. Let's get real.

dw said...

I don't know, being poor must feel diferently to diferent classes and cultures. To me the post was right on target yet to publically seek sympathy is embarassing. Poor needs to be a proud and honest class that helps one another, not whine and teach the children to feel inferior or subtully or overtly blame soceity. The media portrays poor as uneducated or as ethnics discriminated against or illegal immigrants. None of the above encourage respect or self esteem or the American spirit. There is a sub culture of poorness that is taught by example and persued. Our educational system is attempting to adress that without discriminating.